Friday, August 01, 2008

Aiken Fans Replay CA 4-fer

CALIFORNIA MEMORIES -- Clay Aiken fans have already begun a
weekend rewind of the popular CA 4-fer of the 2007 Summer Tour.
Graphic by Amazing_CA, photos by Invisible926.

Popular 'CA 4-fer' Remembered

West Yields Special Moments

Like most fans, I vicariously experienced the "California 4-fer" of Clay Aiken's 2007 Summer Tour through the impressions of those attending the San Diego, Pala, Los Angeles, and Indio concerts a year ago this weekend.

A cellstream connection helps transport listeners to the concert venues, and the remarkable clack that fan videographers and photographers upload shortly afterwards keep past performances on replay for months, even years. In fact, visit any CA message board this weekend and it's all about "California Memories."

In recap after recap, Clay fans relayed the events from the West Coast's weekend adventure Aug. 2-5, 2007. This blog takes a look back at the San Diego and Pala concerts. The next edition will focus on the Los Angeles Greek and Indio shows.

Both include stories that didn't make print media reviews but which hold special meaning for the CA fandom. Hold onto you hat ... here we go!

Pala Cellist Becomes Claymate

Attending her second CA concert ever, Luvmysalsie reported a discussion she had with a cellist following the Palomar Starlight Theatre (Pala) performance:

You know that look Clay fans have after seeing him live -- bright eyed, animated, joy written all over our faces. That is the look the cellist had, plus she was talking a mile a minute, just like we fans do.

She said that Clay really has the "chops," meaning his voice is incredible; but what really makes him special is the magical interaction with the audience. He had us eating right out of his hand, and that is what makes him a great entertainer.

Anyone can sing, but not everyone can have that relationship with an audience. She said it felt great to hear the applause because most of the time, they don't even know if their audiences are awake. The orchestra really seemed to enjoy Clay, as they were laughing right along with all his jokes; and he was in rare form tonight.

I asked the cellist if she was a Clayvert? Of course, she didn't know what this meant. I explained to her after seeing Clay in person that most people fall in love with him.

She said, "Oh yes! I'm going to go out and buy his CD's and bring my children to his concerts." Her children had asked her to get Clay's autograph, but he was surrounded by people backstage and she couldn't get close enough.

According to my friend Sally, who attended the weekend's third event at The Greek, the Pala cellist followed through. She purchased tickets and attended her first event as a member of the Clay Nation!

View a CA 4-fer Slide Show by clicking on the picture below or the link provided. At the site, you can opt for an "original" or "gallery" view.

Photographers represented are Invisible926, Toni7babe, Lindylo, FiveGoldens, Riversend22, Mad4Clay, and SmartyPantsSuz.

Photo by Invisible926 links to CA4fer slide show.

Fans Greet Countless Newbies

Lovethatguy: At Pala, Gareem and I met two girls who had won tickets to the show from the local radio station -- one of those "we loved him on AI but had no idea what he has done since."

One of them noticed my CV badge; so, of course, we launched into the whole explanation of Clayversity, the Internet, Clay Nation, etc. By the time we said goodbye, Gareem had her e-mail address like a good little Claymate. And they were very pumped up by all we told them. I am positive they had a great time.

A newbie couple sat next to us at Pala, too. They loved the concert! After hearing that Clay was playing at The Greek and Indio next, they said they were going to get tickets to those concerts also.

Pitch-Perfect Vox with Wide Range

Ymarie: In San Diego I sat in front of a middle-aged man attending by himself. At intermission he told me he had a master's degree in voice and listened to singers with a very critical ear.

He said Clay has improved so much over the last four years and that he has one of the most pitch-perfect voices he's ever heard. Clay is a natural baritone with a fabulous falsetto range, he said, and it takes a lot of testosterone to sing in the upper head range. It's harder on the voice, but everybody wants to hear those high notes.

He took some grief from his daughter about going to a Clay Aiken concert, but it didn't bother him at all. He likes Clay and also Michael Buble. He was impressed with Clay's charitable works and his down-to-earth personality.

PHOTO INTERLUDE: Featured are three clickable graphics by Amazing_CA (1, 3, 5) and pictures from Pala/San Diego concerts. Photograpers include Invisible926, 1; Riversend, 2; FiveGoldens, 3, 4; and Toni7babe, 5.

Some Consider Pala Best Show Ever

During quiet stretches like Clay's respite this summer, Internet fans often make lists -- "Clayisms" (as reported in the July 17 Carolina blog), favorites from the singer's songs, concerts, photos, videos, etc. Hands down, Pala usually wins the title of "best concert ever."

Here is more about that phenomenal evening:

The line to get to the Pala concert area, even with three doors open, stretched all the way across the lobby, restaurant, shop areas, and almost the whole width of the casino.

There was a guy behind me that kept shaking his head in disbelief. He said he was from the area and had attended every single show they ever had at Pala. He kept saying he had never seen anything even close to that kind of crowd before. He said his host had told him that the casino had to pull in extra staff to handle the size of the crowd and a lot of the guest services areas were completely overwhelmed.

I saw this same guy after the concert. He just LOVED it! Previously, he really didn't have much of an idea who Clay was, but he raved about what an all-around entertainer he is -- great voice, hilarious banter, terrific interaction with Quiana, Angela, and the audience.

He said it was by far the best show he had ever seen there, and he was going to make sure the casino management knows how great it was and to make sure Clay comes back.

Jtgranny's photo links to Flat Clay video.

Flat Clay's Cameo Appearance

Anyone who has viewed clack from the Pala concert knows about Flat Clay, a life-size cardboard version of the singer with a five-year itinerary that has included countless concert pre-parties and other appearances.

Posted at YouTube by ClayKitty01, Clay & Co. sing
When I See You Smile to the cardboard character in the window.

Artquest, keeper of Flat Clay, explained in her recap that cardboard Clay is always along for the ride. As she told Clay when quizzed from the stage, they just fold him in half and hit the road.

Due to back problems, Artquest's husband returned to their room during intermission. "The next thing we knew, Flat Clay was dancing in the window. The audience howled, and he danced some more."

Saltwaterdog: At Pala, two couples directly in front of my husband and me were newbies. One couple had seen an AI 2 show, but this was their first Clay Aiken concert. They all were interested and enjoying themselves from the beginning of the show; but when Clay spotted the “Flat Clay” cardboard cutout in an upper hotel window, they were hooked.

During “When I See You Smile” Clay sang to the image as if it were his true love. Quiana and Angela added similar theatrical gestures. At that point, the folks in front of us joined in the fun as if they were longtime Claymates.

They laughed at Clay’s jokes and snuggled during the sweet songs. One of the men even kept a close eye out on Flat Clay all evening.

Japanese Fans Meet 'Celebrities'

During the San Diego banter, Clay welcomed contingents of international fans from Japan and New Zealand. Seated near the back, the Japanese fans were dressed in yukatas or summer kimonos. Earlier they had met the singer's mother, Faye Parker, at pre-concert festivities.

Japanese fans meet Faye Parker
Photo by NCSUPack88

According to Clayrin, an OFC blogger from Japan, the group attended the Aug. 2 - 4 concerts in California, as well as those in Clay's home state of North Carolina, Cary and Asheville. Their story was chronicled on The New Clay Aiken, a Japanese fan club site.

Comrades Half a World Away

Like other fans who connect from afar, the Japanese group had become very well acquainted with downloads at Clack Unlimited. At the San Diego concert they also met a videographer special to Claymates everywhere. In a post at the Clack House, Spotlightlover described her chance meeting with the international fans.

As we were preparing to leave the venue, I noticed that 20 or so Japanese ladies had gathered at the front of the stage in their kimonos. They had taken the set lists from the stage and were "oohing" and "ahing" over them.

I took a little footage of them and then asked if anyone spoke English. A couple of tentative nods; then the woman who was serving as translator introduced herself.

I told her I had a big souvenir of the entire concert, and there were a few gasps. We exchanged cards and I said I would be in touch. Then I talked a little more with a few of the women who spoke English. I asked if they were on the Internet.

One of them replied, “Clack Unlimited?” So I told them my board name. And the eyes of these wonderful women from a far country widened with recognition because they knew who I was.

Clickable by mel ladi

For me, meeting these women was the most magical moment of the night. No, not because they knew who I was, but because across the vast Pacific Ocean, culture differences, and a language barrier, we have all become a part of this awesome phenomenon. Not even knowing it, I had shared something with them; and that made us comrades from half a world away.

I think now, for me, that’s what this is really all about. It’s no longer just about a skinny kid from North Carolina with an incredible voice who got the chance of a lifetime.

It’s how his effect on us has brought us together into a big family, and every concert is like a family reunion.

Below is a clickable of Amazing_CA's opening graphic:

Have an awesome weekend remembering the California 4-fer, Clay Nation!


P.S. For her August 2008 calendar, Cindilu2 revisited the summer of Jukebox Clay with photos by KarenEh. Widescreen versions with/without dates are available at the graphic artist's Yuku web page.

Thnx for putting the Carolina blog on your itinerary. Your visits
and comments are very much appreciated.

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Ashes said...

My coffee sat here getting cold,I was so engrossed in the blog! Pala, was a delight! I've watched the video so many times I almost feel I really was there LOL.
The fans from across the seas are amazing. Debs33 of the OFC, is from England, she was there too:)
Thanks for the memories.

treenuts ~ said...

Thanks, I needed THAT!
What an amazing recall that gave me of my very first CA concert experience. Thank god he made it to the west coast last year.

SueReu said...

As always, a wonderful blog! I was also at all four CA concerts - it was an amazing experience.


MissSally said...

I attended the LA concert with my sister, and met up with many old friends there. Sis is the one who forced me to watch Clay on AI2, and of course I was hooked immediately.
This concert was special because Sis had never seen Clay perform live, and we were able to see him together.
It was a magical evening.

cindilu2 said...

It seems Clay's vacation has the stirred up nostaligia in the Nation! I know I've been busy revisiting the gold (platinum? diamond? what's worth the most?) mine of video and photos and most especially the sounds of Clay that we are blessed with.
I only experienced the CA four-fer via osmosis *g*, but thanks to the amazing and generous fans it feels like I was there. What a great series of shows he put on - he was truly born to be on that stage.
Thanks for the memories, Caro!

Anonymous said...

Hi Grandma Caro,

Thanks to Joan, I think I finally can leave a comment.....My problem was not checking "anonymous," so lets hope this works.

I still can't see where it says where I'm from, only USA!

Hugs, Marlyne

Anonymous said...

I never got the chance to attend any of these concerts but so thankful for all the CLACK! Out of the videos that I've watched, one of my fav was the LA concert. I've downloaded almost all of the songs. I still have these videos and have been watching them from time to time. Thanks so much Caro! Many great memories and I really miss Clay! I'm so happy that we have your wonderful blog to keep us going.

Hugs, T.

China Pattern said...

Hi Caro,

I have a special request. I was wondering if you could drop by my blog here when you get a minute and tell me if the new picture I added to the header causes you any problems. The blog loads fine for me but I am not sure about everyone else. Thanks! If anyone else wants to try it, let me know. (And no, this wasn't a cheap ploy to get hit to my blog. Ha!)

Anonymous said...

Hi, Caro,

4evrgonzo (2) here! Thanks for the wonderful memories of the CA 4-fer. I was fortunate enough to be at all of them - and thrilled to be in "the line" to slap hands after the Greek concert!

My youngest daughter sweetly accompanied me to 2 - San Diego & Pala. In San Diego, we were at one of the back tables, sitting next to a table of some of the Japanese ladies who attended in full kimono (Faye was in a kimono, too - my daughter thought she had come in her nightgown!).

During the concert, Clay acknowledged these ladies in the audience and when he saw how far back they were, he cracked something about they probably felt they were still in Japan. One lady kept surreptitiously daubing her eyes with a handkerchief throughout the whole concert, she was so overjoyed to be seeing him in person.

At the end, they made their way to the stage, and some of the musicians gave them souvenir copies of the set lists the performers had had in front of them on the stage. They were thrilled!

Pala was too hysterical. I was at work when the Pala tickets became available so at the stroke of 10:00, I immediately bought one in row 17 - then I thought I probably should get another one, so bought another in a separate transaction - also row 17 - but when I printed up my order I had one in 17A & one in 17B!

Although I was counseled to try to exchange them,I hung on to these oddly matched tickets until the day of the concert. Nobody sat next to me in my section & my daughter was in row 17 on the other side. Someone in a party over there did not show up, so I was invited over to where she was - row 17 closer to the stage! We had the best time ever!

Thanks for the delightful looks back - which will have to hold us this long hot summer!

Like many others, I'm so grateful for your constantly upbeat blogs, keeping spirits up during the long droughts.

Wishing you a great summer!